- There’s more to fast food than burgers and fried chicken, especially outside the United States.
- From momos in India to jollof rice in Nigeria, chain restaurants in countries around the world have figured out how to make many of their favourite foods fast.
- Here are 13 popular fast-food chains from around the world that we wish would come to the US.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Fast food isn’t just burgers, fries, and fried chicken.
Countries around the world have turned their favourite foods into fast food. There’s fast gyudon in Japan, fast momos in India, and fast jollof rice in Nigeria, just to name a few.
As American food becomes increasingly international, the potential for more beloved foreign dishes to appear on American tables has risen.
Here are 13 fast-food chains from around the world that we’re hoping will one day open an outpost in the US:
Where:More than 150 locations across India with plans to open hundreds more.
Why we want it: Long before momos became known in the US, they made their way across South Asia, tagging along with Tibetan merchants. The dish is essentially dumplings that have been steamed or deep-fried, filled with minced veggies and meat, and served with spicy sauces.
With locations across India, Wow! Momo is rapidly expanding in the country.
The Chicken Rice Shop
Where:More than 100 locations in Malaysia, Brunei, and Myanmar.
Why we want it: There isn’t really a fast-food chain in America that focuses on good ol’ Hainanese chicken and rice, a dish made popular in Malaysia by Hainanese immigrants. A simple poached chicken is paired with lightly seasoned rice for a light, sweet, and savoury comfort meal.
Where:486 locations in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Germany, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Belarus.
Why we want it: Much of the Hesburger menu is similar to what you’d find on a US fast-food chain’s menu, except that there are also lots of gluten-free, vegan, and healthy options.
There’s the typical chicken nuggets, yes, but also soy fingers. The chain also serves a kebab burger and offers flavored mayonnaises including cucumber, curry, and garlic.
Where:More than 100 locations across Ireland.
Why we want it: This Irish chain, which won a case against McDonald’s in a European court for the right to use the “mac” name, serves up fresh burgers, sub sandwiches, wraps, and salads. There are also local staples like fish and chips and the Irish breakfast.
Nasi Kandar Pelita
Where:28 locations in Malaysia and India.
Why we want it: Nasi Kandar Pelita is a chain serving flavorful traditional Malaysian dishes. Nasi kandar is a dish that originated in Malaysia and consists of portions of rice, meat, and vegetables flooded with a mix of different spices.
The chain’s curries are the perfect fast food: They’re simple to make, store, and portion out. But most importantly, they’re delicious.
Where:66 locations in the Netherlands.
Why we want it: We want FEBO not just for its croquettes, but also for its futuristic, spaceship-like vending-machine ordering format. Ordering is completely automated: you insert a ticket into the kiosk, pay, and then pick up your food from a cube.
You can also order milkshakes and fries at the counter. Its croquettes – crunchy, deep-fried pockets of sauce and filling – are FEBO’s staple offering.
Why we want it:Founded by Australian-Portuguese entrepreneur Antonio Cerqueira, Oporto closed its three US locations in 2013. Those locations were then converted into a different chain restaurant.
However, we still believe there’s still a gap to fill in US fast food, and it happens to be Oporto’s specialty: Portuguese flame-grilled chicken.
Where: More than 1,900 stores across South Korea, Japan,Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia.
Why we want it: With creative burgers like the okonomiyaki burger, the ramen burger, and the hash brown with mozzarella burger, Lotteria isn’t afraid to venture into uncharted sandwich territory.
At Lotteria, you could eat a dozen burgers and not even touch beef – or even a bun, for that matter.
Where:59 locations in Nigeria.
Why we want it: Tantalizers is a fast-food chain that offers everything from meat pies to several kinds of jollof rice, West Africa’s staple carb.
It’s cooked in a fried tomato, pepper, and onion purée and doused in meat stock and generous spices. Unfortunately, this hearty and fragrant rice dish hasn’t made its way onto many American forks – yet.
Rei do Mate
Where:330 locations in Brazil.
Why we want it: We recognise that this one might be a bit of a pipe dream, because mate occupies a cultural space in Brazil and South America that just doesn’t exist in the US.
However, with hundreds of locations across Brazil, Rei do Mate is Brazil’s most popular coffee chain for a reason. It offers a wide selection of mate tea, but it’s also loved for its creative chocolatey drinks and Brazilian cheese bread.
Café de Coral
Where: More than 270 locations in Hong Kong and mainland China.
Why we want it: Café de Coral offers all sorts of Hong Kong and Chinese specialties that can be hard to find in the US, like congee breakfast sets, slow-braised barbecue pork, and baked fried rice with cheese and tomato sauce.
Why we want it: Sukiya specialises in gyudon, a Japanese comfort food favourite. What’s more perfect than a steaming bowl of fresh white rice topped with thin slices of braised beef and caramelised onions?
Café Coffee Day
Why we want it:Café Coffee Day has more locations than Starbucks in India.
With latté art, gourmet desserts, and snazzy interiors, Café Coffee Day has a sleek and upscale vibe that sets it apart. You can enjoy your coffee with cake, a sandwich, or a spicy chicken paratha roll.
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